By ERWIN CHLANDA
Chief Minister Adam Giles this morning explained circumstances surrounding a road project on Melville Island, sparking speculation that he had done a deal with Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu to defect from the Palmer United Party and rejoin the CLP.
Mr Giles told the Alice Springs News Online the road would service a school as well as a forestry project and he had lobbied for it since being a candidate for the Federal seat of Lingiari in 2007.
Mr Giles says the road is not in the current NT Budget “for building” but – without being specifically named in the Budget – is part of “a stack of roads” in the design, survey and concept phase.
He had also spoken about it to the Tiwi Land Council on several occasions.
On Monday Mr Giles said: “No offers, inducements or incentives were made to Mr Kurrupuwu in exchange for his return. He came to us.”
But yesterday Mr Kurrupuwu claimed Mr Giles had offered him a road and two buses in a discussion about his return to the Government.
Journalist Sara Everingham was interviewing Mr Kurrupuwu for a national ABC radio program.
KURRUPUWU: The budget is here now and it’s given me the opportunity to start helping my people. I really want to support my constituents in my electorate.
EVERINGHAM: And have you been promised anything? There’s been talk of a new road.
KURRUPUWU: Well, that’s a new road on the Tiwi Islands, two buses it’s coming soon. We sat down and we talked about it and, because I promised them, this Government promises.
EVERINGHAM: And do you know what the road would be worth?
KURRUPUWU: Ah, I’m not quite sure, but it’s been committed to me yesterday. So I stick by what the agreement between Adam and I.
Later yesterday Mr Giles, during a media conference about an unrelated subject, again denied having made a deal.
He was asked: “Have you offered [Mr Kurrupuwu] $30m for a development on Tiwi Islands?
Q: So you haven’t offered him anything?
PUP defection: Tiwi road not in Budget, but work in progress – Giles
By ERWIN CHLANDA